Cle Elum River, Washington
see also Yakima River
The Cle Elum River is the largest tributary to the Yakima River and a tailwater fishery itself. Running out of Cle Elum Lake, this river is often over looked by visitors to Washington and residents alike, over-shadowed by the fame and attention projected by the Yakima.
For those who know it well this is good because while the Cle Elum doesn't have the numbers of fish the Yakima claims to have, it more than makes up for in the size of the few it does.
During the summer months, this river is also used to furnish water to the agricultural mecca of the Yakima Valley where many of Washington's better wines are rooted.
While rainbows from the Yakima most certainly travel up the Cle Elum to spawn, they can also meander this way when water condtions are more favorable. That said, the best reason to fish this river is in pursuit of its native west slope cutthroat who also enjoy long lives and can attain very large lengths. There is even the occassional lake trout sitting around waiting for something large to pass its way.
In the spring when water temps begin to warm, these fish become a bit anxious as they enjoy all the same food their cousins in the Yak do but with much less competition.
Skwala stones, March Brown's, Baetis and caddis to name a few are all quite obvious when hatching but it requires a discerning angler to locate some of the beasts in here. While the water appears perfect for fish to be stacked in like cords of wood, they are not.
Fall brings water temps as well as flows back down and fall hatches are amazing. Yet again, most pressure from anglers will be found on the neighboring Yakima.
While floating is a good way to see some of the water that is more challenging to access by foot, walk and wade trips also afford a very slow pace that allows anglers to cover the prime water with a fine toothed comb.
Menu options for full day trips -- Lunch
Clothing and equipment checklist -- Summer, Winter
day float trip for 1 or 2 anglers
day walk and wade trip for 1 or 2 anglers
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